Monday, August 31, 2009

The pandas will attack my hair (Garnier Anti-humidity spray with bamboo)

Well, if you regularly read this blog then you know that I have been searching for a hairspray that will fight humidity. You also know that I really have not ventured into the land of hairsprays, so I am not very well-versed in what is good and what isn't. Therefore, I had a horrible experience with the Ion Hairspray (you can read that here). However, I recovered quickly from that debacle and I picked up Garnier Fructis's new anti-humidity hairspray. From what I noticed Garnier came out with different types of anti-humidity hairsprays; one volumizes, another does something else, and the one I got provides shine and sleekness. The hold on the Sleek and Shine hairspray is "ultra strong" and rates a 4 on a scale of 1-5. This hairspray promises to have "long-lasting hold" and fight humidity all day. The spray also contains bamboo extract (I think this is what makes it new), which provides elasticity and strength, which translates into a bold, resilient, natural-looking hairstyle. The hairspray comes in an aerosol can. Oh, and the spray smells like the other Garnier products: fruity and feminine.

So, what do I think about this hairspray? Well, I have been using it for more than a month, and it does actually keep my curls in check during super humid days. I did retest it recently during a rainy, misty day, and I was amazed at how nicely my hair kept. In fact, my hair looked exactly the same when I got home. In addition to fighting the frizz, my hair still felt considerably soft. I say "considerably" because the fact of the matter is that I do have hairspray in it. So my hair wasn't crunchy, instead it felt firm. It was like I had a pliable barrier around my head. However, I have to state during this retest, I did apply the hairspray on second-day, dry hair. The directions on the can suggest the person apply on damp hair for full effect, and here is the rub. I have applied this hairspray when my hair was damp, and it really did work to its fullest potential. My curls were defined, they did not frazzle, and my hair still had room to move, but, and this is a big "but" for me, when I apply the hairspray when wet my hair feels a little sticky, and it takes forever to dry. I really hate having wet hair all day. I mean my hair already takes a while to dry, and I really don't want to drag that time out further. The quicker my hair can dry, the quicker I can fluff it, the prettier I will feel. Plus, when I apply the hairspray on damp hair and it finally dries, it doesn't yield good second-day hair (and I sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent frizz and breakage). On the second day the hair is difficult to fluff without frizzing it up because of the firming effect of the hairspray on the curls. Since the curls are so firm, when they are on a flat surface the curls just flatten and stay like that. Annoying!

I can't knock the hairspray for being effective; I really can't, but I am not a fan of wearing this when wet. I guess if it was super humid on a "wet-hair day" (The days when I wash or rewet my hair. Curly girls know what I am talking about.), then I would do a quick spritz of the spray all over my hair, but it isn't my favorite option. Now, if it is super humid on a second-hair day, then I will most definitely coat my hair in this.

Bottom-line: this hair is great on dry hair, not so much on dense, wet hair.

So, would I buy this again? Yes, I would, but strictly for dry hair days. This can is 8.25 oz, and I don't really need a lot for my hair, so it will last quite some time before I have to buy it again. I will say this, I am not looking for another hairspray. This satisfied my curiosity for quite awhile.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 happy wallets (I don't like the sticky effect it has on my wet hair, but I do wear other products, which could affect this feeling. Plus, the can doesn't state that it provides a natural feeling hair. It states that it provides "natural looking" hair. Overall, this hairspray does what it says, and it smells good.)

Price: honestly, I bought this a while ago and I can't remember. I do believe it was less that $6, maybe even $4, but I can't confirm (I looked around online, but I saw prices for the older version of this hairspray.).


My second-day hair with hairspray at the beginning of the day. See it looks natural and touchable, and it is. I forgot to take an "after the full day" pic because Cheeks was requesting all of my attention. By the time I was done for the day, I just passed out. However, the hair looked pretty much the same at the end of the day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Long lashes that can compete with the fake lashes on True Blood?

photo from

Okay, so I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the US vampires are totally taking over. It's crazy that they are all over the movies and TV. I haven't gotten too into the fad. I mean, I am not sporting any fangs or anything, and I am not asking anyone to bite me. However, I have been really into the Sookie Stackhouse novels and True Blood, which airs on HBO. The show is now into the second season, and some things have changed from the first season. For instance, the makeup. Since the beginning of the season I have noticed an influx in false lashes. Not just enhancing false lashes, I mean the super dramatic false lashes, and all the women are wearing them. I understand the concept of TV makeup, but these lashes are so very distracting. They look like the lashes that are shown on mascara commercials (Okay, can we talk about that too? Seriously, how in the hell do they justify fake lashes on a mascara commercial). I mean, the lashes they use are so long they virtually touch the top of the brows. Anyway, after seeing these lashes on the show, I got motivated to try out some lengthening mascaras.

First, I tried an Ulta one, and that was pure crap. In fact, it just went straight into the trash. Then, I tried Maybelline XXL extensions XX-treme length mascara. I have been wearing this mascara off and one for the past month, and I really do like it. This mascara does add a great amount of length, it holds curl, I can layer without much clumping, and I have not experienced any flaking, nor smudging. I also really like the second step brush. I say "second" because this mascara is a two-step process. First you coat your lashes with a microfiber primer, and then you coat your lashes with the further lengthening mascara part.

The primer is kind of easy to work with. I have to be careful to not overwhelm the lashes, when applying it. The primer brush can deposit a little too much white stuff, so make sure the brush isn't saturated. The primer really is the core of the lengthening process because of the little fibers that attach and extend the lash. Curiously, Maybelline call the first step "the tamer," but they should call it "the extender."

The second part of the mascara application is pretty easy; just swipe on. However, I have to make sure I cover all of the white primer. Really, the most troublesome part is making sure to cover all of the primed lashes well so that no white shows through. Other than that, good to go. Now, I will say that since this is a two-step mascara, it might not be the best mascara for on-the-go. It does take time to make sure to get cover the lashes in its entirety. Oh, and the mascara does look gray in combination with primer.

Now, let's get to the title. Does this compete with the false lashes on True Blood? No, of course not, but it most definitely lengthens the lashes. I am incredibly satisfied with this mascara, and I would definitely buy it again. It truly does add a VAVOOM quality to the eyes. In fact, I am really enjoying just wearing this mascara without any shadow or liner. Well played, Maybelline. You tugged at my purse strings again.

Rating: 5 out of 5 happy wallets. (It takes some time to make sure the primer doesn't show through, but I deem it worthy because the length is great.)

Price: $6-$7, I can't remember, but it is in this range.

eye without Maybelline Colossal
no mascara, bare lashes

Maybelline XXL extension mascara
VaVoom! Pardon the messy brows.

Maybelline XXL extension mascara

Has anyone else tried this mascara? Thoughts? Any other recs for a lengthening mascara?

Another survey that is all about me, because this blog isn't about me already

This morning Cheeks woke me up at 5:30 because he was hungry. Many will say, "What? That is so early!" And it is, however, I was so proud of him because he has been sleeping some kind of poopy recently. For instance, the night before he only slept for about three hours. The scholar and I were pulling out our hair trying to get him to fall asleep. I swear I will try to never break a baby's routine if I can't help it. Their revenge is miserable.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the survey. So this morning, I was reading through the blogs while I was feeding Cheeks, and I came across Aquaheart's "50 questions" survey. I thought it would be fun to complete on my blog. I think it is always fun to find out a little about the person behind the makeup.

Also, before I forget. I went to Target yesterday and trolled the makeup clearance aisle, and I found the Maybelline Pulse Perfection mascara. Yes, the Pulse Perfection was on clearance at my Target. I asked the associate why it was there, and she thought it was due to poor sales at that particular store. Soo, ladies and gents, check your Target clearance to see if they have any of the mascara there. You never know. I bought it for around 6 bucks. I also got some Maybelline lippies for around $1. Sweet.

Ok, it's all about me time:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:30 am, eastern

2. How do you like your steak? super rare. Like the cook shows the flame the steak from afar and then s/he puts it on my plate.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I can't even remember. I think I was pregnant, so it wasn't so long ago. I guess it was a forgettable movie.

4. What is your favorite TV show? I have many favorites: Pushing Daisies (canceled), Life (canceled), Psych, Bones, but the ultimate favorite is BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. I friggin' love BTVS, love. Not many people understand my connection to the show, but I don't care. The world's questions can be answered through that show. I love this show so much, I made the title bold. That says something.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Northern VA, it's what I know best, diverse, close to DC, lots of Vietnamese food restaurants, *weeps* One day, one day.

6. What did you have for breakfast? not yet. But I will probably have a almond butter and grape jelly sandwich (I am allergic to peanuts. Funny story behind this.) and cinnamon tea that I am obsessed with right now.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Puerto Rican and Vietmanese pho. Yum Yum.

8. What foods do you dislike? liver.

9. Favorite place to eat? Other than a Pho joint, I enjoy (I know it is a chain, but I like it) Ruby Tuesdays. I like their turkey sliders and the salad bar, oh and those pumpernickel croutons.

10. Favorite dressing? Ranch

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Ford Explorer. This is the second "inherited" one.

12. What are your favorite clothes? jeans, scoop neck loose blouses, and button down shirts. Oh, and long sleeve shirts.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? I want to visit Quebec and Montreal.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? It's just at half. I just see things. Sure, I try to find the bright side, but really, it is what it is.

15. Where would you want to retire? Probably a city setting. Maybe Arlington, VA. Gosh, I love NoVA.

16. Favorite time of day? 10 am. Nice round number, still morning, still smiling.

17. Where were you born? Washington, DC

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? I usually don't watch sports, but when I do, I like soccer and hockey. Actually, I watch soccer to see the legs in action (HAWT), and hockey for the actual sport. In fact, I actively turn the channel to the hockey game, which I typically don't do for other sports.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? not concerned

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? not concerned

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? I am nosy so everyone and anyone. Please satisfy my curiosity.

22. Bird watcher? I am not a bird watcher, but my godmother is. She and her husband are avid bird watchers, and it is so interesting to hear about their adventures around the world. They have seen many beauties. So cool.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? morning. I am worthless at night.

24. Do you have any pets? no. We had a fish, Alexander the Great, but he died. So sad.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? yes, the baby slept the entire night!! *throws confetti*

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A teacher or lawyer. Teaching won. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with the profession.

27. What is your best childhood memory? sneaking around with my sister looking for Christmas gifts. When we finally found them, I would teach my sister how to open the wrapping without doing damage. That was always fun.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dogs, but really, I am a fish person. I like the idea of having a dog, but then I think of dog breath, dog hair, dog poo. I know eventually we will get a dog, so I am preparing myself for that time. Honestly, I have never lived with a dog so maybe I will be okay. Actually, I did live with a dog in college *shudders*.

29. Are you married? yes, it's cool. I like it. However, don't do it just to do it. Marriage is a serious business. Check your ego at the door.

30. Always wear your seat belt? People don't?!

31. Been in a car accident? ugh, yes...

32. Any pet peeves? Really? In fact, one pet peeve is when people say they don't have pet peeves. I hate when people want to be rosy all the time. Funny story, when my sister was younger, she and my mother were fighting about something mundane. My sister yells at my mother, "Listen, I can't be happy all the time!" My mom retorts, "No, that would be psychotic." Exactly! One huge pet peeve is when people exhibit the Pollyanna syndrome. Gag me with a spoon.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Pepperoni

34. Favorite Flower? Gerbera daisies.

35. Favorite ice cream? Rocky Road

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? I don't really have one. Oh wait, yes, I do. Chick-fil-A

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? I failed the written once, and I took driving lessons at school, after two weeks we would take a test and fail or pass. My instructor kept me for an additional two weeks. He noted my lack of confidence and deemed it a danger to society. He was very perceptive. Thank you, Mr. Madison.

38. From whom did you get your last email? I can't remember. This baby brain is horrible.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? First off, I would not max out a credit card unless, absolutely necessary (like to save a house, and even then I would cry the entire time). I fear debt. However, and tell me this doesn't make sense, but I always think what would I do if I won a ton of money. Well, after giving some away, paying off stuff, setting up funds for the babies, and so forth, I would raid the drugstore makeup aisle. I mean, how does that make sense. Usually, when you go up in the money ladder you upgrade your taste, but I kind of don't have an interest. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely buy more from the counters, but I have a feeling that I would definitely raid the drugstore makeup aisles. The drugstore aisle gives me more of a rush than the makeup counters do.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? I dashed out of the house for a minute. That is spontaneous because I left Cheeks at home with the Scholar. Seriously, I just has a tiny bag with me and I could just rush out of my car. Soo nice. This is the one thing I miss about my childless life: the ability to just go.

41. Like your job? Yes, I like being a mommy. I pepper the mommy gig with some tutoring and volunteer work, which is great.

42. Broccoli? Can you say "GAS."

43. What was your favorite vacation? Alaskan cruise. I went right after graduating from grad school and right before entering the "real" world. It was divine. I ate well, read a lot, and saw humbling glaciers. I don't think I could recreate that trip.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? the Scholar. Yum to both the food and the man.

45. What are you listening to right now? the fan, the baby mumbling in his sleep, and the Scholar taking deep, sleepy breaths.

46. What is your favorite color? RED

47. How many tattoos do you have? None. I admire and enjoy looking at others with tattoos, but I never got one. Now, if I were to get one, it would be Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Sure, she is the villain, but did you feel her sex appeal and confidence? I wanted to be her when I first saw the movie.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? You read this, you are tagged

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 6:40 am

50. Coffee drinker? Nope, tea drinker.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Brushes, T?! (the detail brushes)

The detail eye brushes
(click on the image to see in full)

1. Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine's Mop 1/4 brush (natural)
2. Loew-Cornell 272 Dome Round (natural)
3. Loew-Cornell Arttec Red Sable 165 round (natural)
4. E.L.F Professional Lip Defining Brush (natural, use as eye brush)
5. CVS Essence of Beauty small crease brush (natural)
6. Loew-Cornell 793 Angular Flat 1/4 brush (white nylon)
7. Maybelline eye contour brush (good for eyeliner, synthetic)

1. Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine's Mop 1/4 brush (natural)--I friggin' love this brush. I have two of these. They are excellent for detailed crease work, smudged liner, outer "v" work. Just a very versatile detail brush. Plus, this brush is around $3 at Michaels.

2. Loew-Cornell 272 Dome Round (natural)--I got this when I was obsessed with finding the perfect pencil brush. The tip of this brush is a little rounder than the MAC 219 and it is thinner as well. However, the brush is densely packed and firm, but still soft. I don't use this as much as I could. I usually gravitate towards it when I want to do create a dramatic, cut crease. This has the length to deeply sit inside my crease as I do the windshield motion to deposit crease color. About $10-$11 at Michaels.

3. Loew-Cornell Arttec Red Sable 165 round (natural)--This is like the Sonia Kashuk fluffy blending brush, but it is thinner and less dense. This does blend, but it is really very soft. So it will do light, light diffusing. I like this brush when I want to just hint at my crease contour. I use this on my less dramatic days, really. Not a must. Unfortunately, I can't find, nor remember, the price on this one.

4. E.L.F Professional Lip Defining Brush (natural, use as eye brush)--This is another example of using brushes for something they were not meant for. I really like this brush. When I first got it, I thought that it was kind of useless, and then I used it to darken my outer "v" and highlight my inner corner and I really enjoyed it. This is small and it is easy to handle around the tight corners of the eyes. It is also very soft, and not densely packed. Therefore, I don't get the sharp, precise crease line or outer "v" line. Instead I get a precise but diffused line. Very nice for $1.

5. CVS Essence of Beauty small crease brush (natural)--Another great brush from Essence of Beauty. Bravo CVS for having such great brushes. I use this for liner smudging, inner eye highlight, and overall detail touch up. The handle is small because it comes in a travel kit. I can't remember the price, but you get two or three crease brushes in this kit. This is a great mini pencil brush.

6. Loew-Cornell 793 Angular Flat 1/4 brush (white nylon)--Great for cream liner application. I prefer the angled brush to the flat liner brush. I can do a cat eye pretty easily with this brush. Plus, it is really easy to clean and manipulate. I think this could have been around $5 or $7, but I can't remember.

7. Maybelline eye contour brush (good for eyeliner, synthetic) --This brush and I have had a longlasting relationship. I have had this brush since freshmen year of college, and I have been out for a while. Pretty awesome brush. I thought I had lost it for a long time, and I was really sad because I could find a replacement (I did find it eventually). However, I have noticed that it is back in stores. This baby used to be hard to find, but not anymore. I really love this brush. Between the LC angle brush and this one, I choose the Maybelline. The brush is poopy for contouring, but it is magnificent for lining. This delivers a thin, precise line. I can also get a great cat eye with this brush. Just great! I don't know the price, however.

So the must haves from this bunch: Maybelline contour brush, CVS small crease brush, LC maxine mop 1/4 brush.

More to come. Let me know if you have any questions.
much love.

Products I am using right now

I have seen this survey on several blogs, and I decided to do it too. If you would like reviews on any of the product just give me a shout out.

Shampoo: Mixed Chicks shampoo (just finishing up, won't repurchase)

Conditioner: Herbal Essence Tousle me Softly (trying it out. smells very nice)

Styling products: 1) Herbal Essence Tousle me Softly mousse (crazy love it. Have been using it for one week, and I get excited to use after I wash my hair. So far no complaints.
2) Garnier Sleek and Shine Anti-humidity hairspray (very nice. Don't wear it every day, but when I do I am surprised at how nice it is. A review will come.)

Shower Gel: Dove Cucumber Melon soap bar.

Body moisturizer: Curel 24 hour comfort. (I friggin' love this stuff. There is a review on here)

Deodorant: Degree invisible solid in power, I think.

Fake Tan: I'm brown; no need to tan.

Cleanser: 1) Costco makeup wipes (love, cheap!), 2) Clean and Clear blackhead eraser/Cetaphil antibacterial bar soap (testing)

Toner: None.

Exfoliator: Clean and Clear blackhead eraser (I missed it when I didn't hav it)

Primer: None.

Foundation brush: testing the Essence of Beauty foundation brush. Very soft, a little too wide.
However, I prefer fingers and sponges.

Concealer: maybelline coverstick in beige and maybelline mineral power in beige. (both are great concealers. Coverstick is very thick, but does not budge. Mineral power is also really nice; a little thinner than coverstick.)

Powder: mark. powder buff powder foundation in "natural" (love)

Blush: Carmindy blush in "poppy" (I have reviewed it somewhere on here)

Bronzer: mark. pro bronze (excellent non-orange shade)

Highlighter: mark. get bright hookup highligher

Eyeshadow base: UDPP, L'oreal Crease, MAC paint in bamboo

Eyeshadows: I have been wearing a lot of mark. shadows recently

Eyeliner: HiP cream liner (I am not really liking it anymore though. It dries out too fast. boo hiss)

Curler: ELF lash curler. (Love it. Replaced my shu uemura)

Mascara: Prestige My Biggest Lashes (on Recessionista recommendation. It is nice, but have decided not to settle on it.)

Lipstick: MAC Twig with NYX round lipgloss in Ballerina Pink on top. (The gloss brings out the pink in twig without it being shocking)

Lipgloss: NYX ballerina pink, mark. exotic in rush, mark GBG in girly girl

Nail Colour: none for now

Let me know what you are wearing/using. This is how we continue to try out new products in the hopes of finally fining "the One."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update and Tagged (11 happy things)!

Hi Chicas! How is everyone? I have been out because we took Cheeks McGee to the beach. It was a great time. However, now that we are home, Cheeks is all like, "hey, you! Yeah, you, the one who feeds me, I am gonna make you pay for taking me out of the routine. I won't sleep through the night, I will demand arms during the day, and I will cry loudly and incessantly when I want something. Oh, and I am gonna be hungry all the time. Yeah, that's what you get for taking me to the stinkin' beach."

Soo, I had all intentions of coming home and blogging the hell out of blogspot. I had fantasies of blogging so much that my keyboard was going to smoke and the computer was going to sizzle. Alas, this did not happen. Instead, I have been vegging out after long days of fighting with a cute 5 month old, and then I crawl into bed. In fact, I didn't even wash my face last night, and now I am suffering a poopy zit on my chin. Boo Hiss. But, no fear (not that you were), Cheeks is falling back into his routine, and I am getting back on schedule.

In the meantime, I shall do this fun survey that Recessionista sent me. Oh, but before I forget, I didn't take the Clean and Clear blackhead eraser to the beach with me, and my face definitely missed it. So it must be doing something right.

Ok, here is the survey (I love doing these things. you might see another survey go up tonight)

11 Things that make me Happy

1) My new family. When I was younger, I never planned on getting married. I always thought I would find a lover: we would live separately, but hang out on a regular basis. I never really thought I would find someone who would love me just the way I am and want to actually commit to me. I never really thought I would want to commit to anyone either. And yet, I met the Scholar. Pretty crazy. Then two years later, we have Mr. Cheeks McGee dictating what goes on in the house. It is so surreal. There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and look at these two men and just thank God with a humble heart. It doesn't get better. It just doesn't.

2) I may be 30, but I still crave being home with Queen Fierce. Those walls hold a lot of good memories, the smell of comfort food still emanates from the kitchen, and the bed is always welcoming.

3) The weekly calls from Mr. Serenity. He never tires of my Buffy-ridden conversations, and he guides me on which movies to watch and what to do with my car.

4) The daily texts from The Grrl. Holy Moly, thank God for unlimited texting because we can text like it is our job, especially on Sundays during True Blood. Oh Eric...

5) An excellent book that includes some type of awakening, a touch of romance, a strong heroine, a balanced dose of details, a magnificent voice, and a plethora of new words for me to discover. Wow, no wonder I shrug after reading many books.

6) Volunteering. Right now, I teach computer classes at my local library, and I love interacting with the participants. I love their stories, I like their excitement. I enjoy leaving feeling like I have helped someone. Plus, I get to hang out at one of my favorite spots.

7) Getting packages. Whoa, Nelly! I rip the package open in the elevator. I don't even wait until I get in the house. I know what is in the box, but I still get super excited.

8) Simple Christmases. I don't really even care about gifts. I like to keep things simple. This is difficult to do during Christmas especially since so many go overboard with gifts during this time. I like to chill in comfy clothes, watch TV, drink cider, snack on turkey, and just hang out. So whenver I come across a simple Christmas, it is a good Christmas.

9) Silence. Some poeple don't feel comfortable with silence. I cherish it. Funny story, when I was pregnant I read that it was good to talk to the belly so that the baby could get used to my voice. I was home alone a lot, and there were days where I was quiet for most of the time. Then I would freak out because I hadn't said anything to the future Cheeks, and I would immediately start a conversation, only to fall into silence 10 mintues later. It is so nice to just hear my own breath. Oh, also curious. I am a teacher by trade, and there were times in the classroom when I would just close my mouth. The students would look up from their notes and doodles. I would stare at them and say, "Sorry, I just got tired of hearing my voice, so I can only imagine how you are feeling. Let's take a minute to just enjoy the silence." Don't get me wrong, I am not shy, I just don't believe in superfluous talk.

10) Beading. I create something and it doesn't necessarily have to take months to make. Plus, I can wear it as soon as I am done.

11) Long Showers. Better than a long walk on the beach. So, so, so relaxing.

I tag the following:

Elaine, over at Stella's dreams. She blogs about adventures in new mommyhood, which is fun and heartwarming.

Beda from Beda's Beauty Blog. Excellent reviews, FOTD's and is a fellow islander.

Tanya at The Pink Train Case. An expert drugstore shopper, and all around fun chica.

Miss Marisol at A dirty martini kind of girl. One of the first blogs I started reading. Excellent chica.

Of course, anyone else can share on her (do I have male blogger readers?) blog, or in the comments section. This is a nice positive sharing, so why not keep it up.
Also, the tagged are not obligated to do it.

Much love.

Recessionista, thanks for sending this, it was fun to think about how happy I am.

Much Love.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quick Note: Out

I will be out for a little over a week.
However, I will be back and ready to post.
Have a great one!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finally, the brushes get attention

Whew, how long has it been since I wanted to cover brushes? Forever. I had this on my "things to review" list for a really long time, and then I took it off because I had failed to deliver. However, I received a request (holla, Lelu's mami!), and that was motivation enough for me to get this done.

I am going to cover the brushes I use in a series of posts because there are too many to fit in one post. I mean, I don't want your butt to get numb from reading one very long post. As you know, I don't like to spend money on beauty, unless absolutely necessary. Also, I have a penchant for finding inexpensive alternative to expensive products. I know everyone says that makeup aficionados should invest in good brushes, but to be honest, I have had most excellent luck with less expensive, but effective brushes. The quest to find inexpensive brushes has led to thinking outside of the box and being creative. Sometimes, the brushes that was intended for the lips, really are great for the eye, or the brush that was meant for acrylic is wonderful for the crease.

Okay, so here is the first lineup. Let's attack them one by one:

Lid brushes
1. MAC 217 (natural)
2. 1/2 Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine Mop (natural)
3. 1/4 Loew-Cornell AMM Mini Mop (natural)
4. Face Secrets Shadow Blender (natural)
5. Generic Large Shadow brush (I think from Walmart, natural)
6. E.L.F. Professional eye shadow brush (natural)
7. Face Secrets eye contour (natural)
8. 3/8 Loew-Cornell 270 maxine's mop (natural)
9. mark. travel eye shadow brush (natural)

1. The MAC 217-- I know, I know, this is not a cheap brush retailing at $22.50. However, I have searched high and low for an inexpensive dupe, and I have yet to find one that compares to this brush. The 217 is excellent for blending, all-over shadow applications, crease work, highlighting, and baby tickling. This brush is spectacularly versatile. When I first was introduced to this brush via Makeupgeek, I really wasn't convinced. I thought, "meh, my eyelid space is too small for this brush. It will never work." However, after more consideration (and stalking of the brush every time I entered the MAC store) I decided to buy it for my birthday. I really, really love this brush. I have even considered buying another one, but I read a tweet from Sigmamakeup a while back that said they were developing a dupe for the 217. So, I am going to hold out and see what Sigma comes up with. I really enjoy this brush because it is fluffy, but not flimsy. Therefore, it works well for color deposit, as well as, color diffusing. When turned horizontally this snugly fits into the crease to create a defined but blended contour. Plus, when traveling you could really just take this brush since it really can cover all of your bases. If you have very little lid space, then this brush may be too big for you. Get a true feel for it at a MAC store just to be sure if it works for you.

2. 1/2 Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine Mop (natural)--I got this at Micheals. I love to use art brushes for makeup. Why not? My face is my canvas and these brushes are soft enough to use. Plus, art brushes are durable and a fraction of the price of makeup brushes. This particular brush is great for covering the entire lid area. It is a soft, dense, flat shader brush. You can use this to pat on color onto the lid, you can do subtle blending around the edges of the shadow. You could also use this for highlighting. I use this every so often. I like it, but it isn't necessarily a must. I believe this was around $5, but Michaels throws these on sale all the time.

3. 1/4 Loew-Cornell AMM Mini Mop (natural)--Alright this sometimes seems to be called Ann's mini mop. However, the handle states that it is the AMM mini mop. I got this brush when I was looking for a MAC 217 dupe. However, the AMM brush is smaller, less dense, and softer. Even though it isn't a good 217 dupe, I still really enjoy this brush for all-over lid application, like a wash, and sometimes I use this for a very subtle crease. The blending capabilities kind of reminds me of the Sonia Kashuk blender brush, which is similar to the MAC 224, from what I have heard. This was about $3 to $4.

4. Face Secrets Shadow Blender (natural)--Wow, I have had this brush since high school. The Face Secrets brand can be found at Sally's and the brand has gotten a face lift. My brush has a wooden handle, but now they have black handles. This brush is wide, dense, and it has short hairs. The brush is intended for blending, but I think it is too wide and dense. I feel like this brush could muddy up the shades when blending. I like this for patting on highly pigmented shades and for more controlled application of shadows. Not a must have, just a fun to have. This was about $5.

5. Generic Large Shadow brush (I think from Walmart, natural)--Again, another wonderful cheap brush that I got a very long time ago. I include this one to prove that you don't need a name brand, expensive brush. I use this for all over washes, and it is in heavy rotation. The brush has the right amount of width and length to fit nicely on my lid. I can't even remember how much this brush was, but I do remember it being cheap.

6. E.L.F. Professional eye shadow brush (natural)--Another wonderful all-over shadow brush. This is like #5 but the hairs are a little shorter, as is the handle. Also, the end of the brush is a little more rounded. Another brush that is used heavily (you can't have enough of these type of brushes when working with several colors). This brush is especially excellent because it is only $1 at You really can't go wrong.

7. Face Secrets eye contour (natural)--Stellar brush for the lid. I love this brush because it is wide enough to deposit a wash of color in one swish, and the pointed end easily goes into the inner corner of my eye without depositing color about the inner corner. In other words, this is like those corner vacuum cleaners that hit the hard to reach spaces. I have also used it for contouring, but it isn't my favorite for that. Here is an example of using the brush for something it wasn't really meant for. I got this brush in high school, and it has held up excellently. About $5 at Sally's.

8. 3/8 Loew-Cornell 270 maxine's mop (natural)--A flat, shader brush. Really good for packing on the color. I use this a lot when I am going for dramatic color. This is about $4 at Michaels, but you can also find this at any art store really, and maybe for less.

9. mark. travel eye shadow brush (natural)--mark. has changed the appearance of this brush a lot since this model came out. This brush is part of a travel kit, and I definitely love to use it when on travel or just at home. I like this for blending the edges out, but it also works for washes, and it fits nicely into the crease for crease work. I also like to use this to get color inside the inner corner. A winner. Two downers, very short handle and only comes in a travel kit.

Out of these, I would say that the MAC 217, 3/8 Maxine Mop, and the Face Secrets eye contour brushes are "must haves." Of course, it's all about finding out what works. One tip, when getting the art brushes, be sure to wash before use. They come with a light coat of glue to maintain the shape while on display in the store.

Questions? Comments? Drop a line.
More to come, I promise. You can check my flickr photostream for a sneak peak of the other eye brushes to come.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buff Puff on steroids

Clean and Clear Blackhead Eraser

I always feel weird walking to the bathroom with the camera. The scholar looks at me as if saying "huh, why are you taking pictures while on the toilet?" Little does he know that i am just taking pictures of my beauty antics. Rarely is toilet paper involved.

Anyway, I have finally come around to reviewing Clean and Clear's Blackhead Eraser, and I figured it would be fun to take pictures of me using the contraption. It kind of worked. I really need to buy a tripod. Then the Scholar will really looked confused when I walk with the camera to the bathroom. Why did I take so long to review this vibrating beauty tool? Well, I really wanted to be sure of my opinion. I wanted to give the Blackhead Eraser enough time to prove itself. I have been using this, nonstop, for about two months. As I was testing it, I considered how to describe it, and, finally, it dawned upon me. The Blackhead Eraser is the Buf Puf on steroids. How many of you remember those Buf Puf pads? Man, I was all about those Buf Puf pads when I was younger. I remember when Queen Fierce would take The Grrl and me to Walmart, and she would release us in the beauty section while she did the real shopping. The Grrl loaded her hands with Softlips lip balm, and I would load my basket (I always went overboard) with lip glosses, nail polishes, cleansers, and the prized Buf Puf. I would wear those Buf Puf pads until they were thin and raggedy. I loved how they left my face so soft and fresh feeling. I am sure I scrubbed the hell out of my face, but whatever. As always, I eventually searched for other products and forgot about the Buff Puff until now.

I can't tell you what motivated me to finally buy and test this product. I remember seeing the advertisement and thinking "Whatever, Clean and Clear will never see my money for that. Never!" Several weeks later, I was washing my face and felt the roughness of my skin. A prickly surface was terrorizing my face, and I immediately thought "Damn you, Clean and Clear. You saboteur! You infiltrated my skin just so I could test your product! And the name you chose. So. So. Precise." I couldn't just go for the Neutrogena Wave, although I am sure it does the same exact thing for less. No, I had to get the "Blackhead Eraser" because I needed my blackheads "erased." If I want "waves," I go to the beach. Well, I guess I can tell you what motivated me to buy the product after all. Panic and good advertising.

Anyway, I used the eraser the first night I got it, and...I was impressed. My face immediately felt soft and smooth. I looked at my problem areas, the sides of my nose, and noticed an absence of obvious blackheads. This eraser really did erase something--not everything, but something. So, I continued to use the eraser four nights a week, as recommended (three to four nights it states). My face looked progressively clearer, brighter, and more even. My old acne scars even look less prominent. Here is the kicker, for the first two weeks I was using the wrong side. You got it! I was using the unmedicated, non-soapy side. I still got suds and exfoliation, but apparently it wasn't up to its fullest potential. I had misunderstood the instructions and I was not using the pads to the fullest capacity. Whoops.

So the night I corrected my error, I really felt the power of exfoliation, and my face looked a little brighter. My skin looks quite refreshed, and I haven't had to wear heavy foundation since I started the using this. My nails no longer get lured by protruding blackheads on the side of my nose either. My skin just feels more even, less bumpy.

Before I continue to ramble, let me just break it down into points

1) Effective in providing soft skin. The first time I used it, my face immediately felt soft and clean. The prominent blackheads were vibrated and exfoliated. My nose instantly looked better.

2) Although the instructions state to use the pad once. I was able to get up to three good, sudsy uses out of the medicated pads. Sometimes, I would just put a little of my soap on the fourth time and it worked well.

3) The eraser's small and roundish size (roughly about the size of an American silver dollar) facilitates easier maneuvering around the face's curves. I didn't have problems getting this into the corners of my nose. Also, the hourglass shape made it easy for me to hold. Plus, this can travel easily.

4) The vibration (I really hope this doesn't attract interesting ads) is effective in preventing me from scrubbing my face too forcefully. See, here is where the Buff Puff reference is useful. As mentioned before, I am pretty sure I was too harsh on my skin when scrubbing with the Buf Puf. In this case, the Eraser's vibration does all of the work for me, so I really just have to move the mini-machine lightly in circular motions around my face. It does help to prevent overexertion.

5) You really can use either side. The pad does work up a lather regardless of what side you use. The unintentional side is softer than the intended side. so if you find the intended side to rough, you can turn the pad over.

6) The pad sticks really well to the attachment head, even after several uses.

7) No battery replacement as of yet, and I am still on the initial packet of medicated pads. It has been about two months.

1) The price: It ranges from $16 to $20. The starter kit comes with the vibrating machine, AA battery, 20 medicated pads. Even though the kit comes with all of this, I still think it is a little too much to pay, especially when Neutrogena has the Wave, and it is cheaper and probably does the same thing (note: I have not tried the Wave. I am just assuming). Here is the other thing, I wouldn't be surprised if the Wave pads and the Blackhead Eraser pads can be placed on either attachment head. So if you have the Wave, you would always just try the C&C medicated pads. Now, you could get a coupon from the C&C website, but you have to register. The refill pads range from $6 to $7 per pack.

2) As mentioned in the "yays," this product does leave the face smooth, but it doesn't truly "erase" blackheads. A salicylic treatment after washing the face or the Biore pore strips is more effective at actually eliminating deeper blackheads. This exfoliant works very nicely for superficial blackheads, but the 1% salicylic acid isn't going to do much when it is quickly washes off.

3) Disposable pads are wasteful.

Rating: 3.0-3.5ish out of 5 (I like that it exfoliates without peeling my face. I like how bright and clean my face has looked. However, this doesn't totally eradicate blackheads. I also don't like the price of the starter kit. You could get the Wave and save money, but I don't know how well the Wave works. With all of this being said, I will continue to use, and I will buy the replacement pads because even though it doesn't dig deep to get rid of the blackheads, it still brightens my face and I don't have to wear heavy makeup to cover up unevenness because I no longer of unevenness.)

Bottom line: I don't regret the purchase, but as a reviewer, I don't want you to feel like you have to invest the $20. This is a nice product, but there are alternatives. This is more of a "nice to have," rather than a "must have." BTW, I do remove my makeup before I wash my face with this.

I'm gonna model for Clean and Clear
It looks like it hurts, but I am just winking.

C&C Blackhead Eraser in action

All clean and clear
All clean. See the pretty glow?

Quick Tip: Blending shadow

I have noticed that sometimes makeup artists like you use a "blending shadow" to subtly fuse two shadows shades together or to softly blend the crease color upward toward the brow bone. I think this is an excellent technique, especially when blending the crease color to make the shade look less harsh. However, sometimes, I don't want to add more color nor highlight when blending the crease color up toward the brow bone. And sometimes, just using a blending brush to diffuse the color doesn't cut it.

Well, here is something you can try out. Pick a nice, soft, matte shadow that is very close to your skin color, get a little of the shadow on a fluffy brush and lightly swipe over the crease color. This should help to diffuse a harsh crease without adding more color. If you can't locate a shadow as described above, then grab your pressed powder; this can do the trick. I used my pressed powder today and it worked like a charm. Try it out, and let me know.

Quick Update and question!

First off, thank you so very much to my new and older followers for joining me on this adventure of self-beautification. If you have any requests, questions, etc., you are always welcome to email me ( I love to keep the communication lines open, so let's have fun!

Now for the update:
I have taken the pictures for the brush post. I just have to edit and write.
I am in the process of testing the Carmindy foundation. I am still deciding what I think.
I have been wearing out my clean and clear blackhead eraser. Pretty good.
The maybelline XXL extension mascara is pretty nice.

So, what review/post would you like to see first? I aim to get several posts out. We shall see if Cheeks McGee lets me get to them in a timely fashion.

Let's see what else...I have this desire to dye my hair. I think I am even going to go to my professional. Do you have any color suggestions? I just don't know what I want.